One of the most important aspects of any content strategy is building influencer relationships. Partnering with those people who have a strong following and high levels of influence in your industry can help get your ideas and your brand in front of the right people and help your business grow.
Creating great relationships with influencers takes time and energy, but the payoff can be substantial. If you are struggling to create relationships, or you want to improve the ones you already have, these tips can help.
1. Become an Advocate
The best influencer relationships are mutually beneficial. If you want people to help you, you need to help them as well. One way to do that is to become an advocate for the influencers you admire. Pay attention to what they are doing, and help spread the word. Share content on your social media pages with a few lines about why you think the information is important or valuable.
If you see someone on Twitter looking for information related to what an influencer is doing, share a link and include the influencer’s Twitter handle. Tag them in Facebook responses to queries, with a note to check out their thoughts or services.
The idea is to become part of the influencer’s “tribe,” and advocate for their content with your followers so that they may be more willing to do the same for you.
2. Share Without Expectations
We’ve all met people who seem to pop up only when they want something. Everything they do has an ulterior motive, and it’s usually a self-serving one. How do you feel about those people? Or, more importantly, how would you feel if others saw YOU as that person?
A great relationship is built on give and take — on both sides. If you want to build stronger relationships, make it a habit to reach out to influencers and share information, resources, or insights without asking for anything in return.
Think about it in terms of your “real life” relationships with your friends: Is every interaction transactional? Probably not, and if it is, you might need new friends. More likely, you are friends with people because you add value to each other’s lives.
When you think about your relationships with influencers in terms of how you can add value to them, you might find that most of your interactions aren’t of the “Can you do this?” variety — and that the relationships are more meaningful.
3. Follow Influencers in More Than One Place
We know. It can be hard to keep up with everyone when you’re trying to stay connected on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. etc., as well as read blogs and stay on top of all the news happening all the time. And no one is suggesting that you hang on every word that an influencer writes online and comment on everything.
However, by staying connected on multiple platforms, it’s easy to see where influencers are most active, where they are most engaged, and where are they seeking the most feedback. With that information, you can reach out to them in the right place, and develop a stronger relationship where it matters.
4. Make Comments Matter
When you comment on something an influencer posts, are you adding something of value? Or are you simply trying to get attention for your own work? Commenting on blog posts and other content is a great way to establish a relationship with an influencer, but you need to be strategic and meaningful in how you comment.
Engage by asking questions, or offering additional information that is relevant and useful, not simply self-promotional. Keep your comments short and to the point; most people aren’t interested in long, drawn out responses. Above all, be polite and professional, remembering that everyone can see your comments and is forming an opinion about you, not just the person you’re trying to establish a relationship with.
Finally, the last tip for creating a meaningful influencer relationship is probably the most important: Say thank you. As the saying goes, people who feel appreciated will always do more, so go out of your way to show appreciation and gratitude for those who do help you.
That means thanking people for following you and sharing your work, and for helping you build your brand. A quick email or even a handwritten thank you note can go a long way toward solidifying your relationship.
In today’s world where relationships are formed online and people can interact for years without ever actually meeting in person, it can be difficult to forge strong, meaningful partnerships. However, when you treat your online relationships the same way you would an in-person friendship, you’ll have those beneficial influencer relationships that help your brand.